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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Colorful carriage
We passed this colorful carriage in front of a gift shop in
Lancaster County, PA

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"In All This"

"In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing" (Job 1:22).

Brooksyne and I are both currently suffering from a bad reaction to Urushiol oil, better known as the active ingredient in poison ivy.  Last week we were clearing some brush in our backyard and without realizing it came into contact with the poison ivy plant.

I have a mild poison ivy rash on my arms. Brooksyne has it much worse with the rash on her arms, face and legs. Any of you who have ever had poison ivy are aware of the intense itching associated with it. In bad cases of ivy poison I identify (to a small extent) with Job's suffering. The Scripture records that in trying to find relief from his skin disease (boils) he "took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes" (Job 2:8). This makes me wonder if Job's affliction included severe itching!  In fact I brought in a shard of broken pottery to Brooksyne; she chuckled, thought about it for a second but didn't use it.

I've had poison ivy many times before, beginning as a kid on a Boy Scout campout as I recall.  I sensed when I was weeding I was into some and went in to wash off my arms and face but apparently not soon enough.

Brooksyne on the other hand didn't get a poison ivy rash until she was a junior in college. She has a memory from childhood of seeing a patch of poison ivy near the neighborhood pond that her family swam in each summer.  The children were warned about the poison ivy, but still some of the family members would get it and then be pampered or their work load on the farm was lightened due to their irritable rash.  Foolishly Brooksyne sat in the patch on a number of occasions when no one was around thinking if she got the rash she too would get out of work.  But interestingly she never did get it. (She certainly has a different perspective about "the rash" now and would quickly say,  work is much more appealing than itching.)

However, we are aware that this present affliction, however uncomfortable, will soon pass and that in several days we both expect to be back to normal.

We wonder how we would feel if we had no idea if and when we might get relief from this affliction. Consider God's servant Job. Of course his suffering was much, much greater than ours.  He lost his wealth, his children, his health, his important position in Uz.  As if that weren't enough he also endured a nagging wife throughout his horrible ordeal!

Throughout the book he had no idea how long he would suffer or if he would ever get relief.  Yet he continued to place his faith in God and of course was eventually vindicated. What a powerful perspective of steadfast faith is expressed in the daily text, "In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."

Some of you are facing situations where you just don't see the way out. Whether it's a health matter, marital conflict, loneliness or any other seemingly hopeless situation, the book of Job teaches us that there is divine activity taking place that we don't always see and that God will in His time make a way.

He will do the same for you.  Keep trusting God today even in the midst of your affliction. "In all this" (whatever the "this" is) God will prove Himself dependable and will work things out "for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28).

In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Lord, I realize today that many of my brothers and sisters are going through some very hard times. Some of them are in what seems like a dark tunnel of despair and they do not see any light at the end. That sure was a way Job might have felt. Renew our assurance today of your steadfast love and care even in the midst of our trial. Send means of hope and encouragement today to uplift us in our faith. May we, by faith, see that glorious light that is always at the end of the tunnel. Amen.

Poison Ivy remedy/preventive:  The other day we were discussing Brooksyne's serious outbreak of poison ivy with some friends. One shared a story when he was child and his mother repeatedly got poison ivy from milking the cows. (The cows had apparently walked through a patch and gotten the oil on their udders. Two summers ago Brooksyne caught ivy from our dog Roxie who had run through a patch and afterward jumped up on her.)

Anyway my friend told us that his mother made a sandwich and put poison ivy leaves in the middle in an apparent attempt to overcome the allergy should she come across it again.  Whether this was the reason or not only God knows, but she never had poison ivy again!  Note: Please consult professional advice before eating a poison ivy sandwich!  We've also been told there are side affects, so beware.

A note from a reader: Yesterday we shared about the experience a non-Mennonite had in an older order Mennonite church service. A reader who is a member of one of these churches sent the following note with additional clarification (interesting to read her perspective) and gave me her permission to share it:

I am a member of a 'Horning' Mennonite Church, and I read with interest the note from a reader in your message. I wanted to clarify a few things (from my perspective) about what was written. It was interesting to hear what a visitor's perceptions might be. It has been the custom for the young boys to come into the church house after the singing has already begun in a Sunday morning service. But they are encouraged to enter before the singing starts and that has been the norm at a lot of the congregations nowadays. The elder that was referred to as walking back and forth and glaring, was probably an usher making sure everyone had a place to sit, as the sanctuary is usually pretty well filled by that time. Also, texting during services is highly discouraged. (Note from Stephen: As it should be in all church services!)

You might be aware of this, but another clarification. The official name of the Horning group is Weaverland Conference Mennonites, and the Old Order Horse and Buggy Mennonites official name is Groffdale Conference. Both groups are considered Old Order though, and the Weaverland Conference group has been commonly referred to as Hornings in years past. The Groffdale Conference group are often called Wengers or Horse and Buggy Mennonites. The Black Bumper name has all but disappeared, because while the cars are still required to be painted black, the bumpers are not, except for those members who are ordained to the ministry.

I don't know if you will want to publish this, or not, but I thought maybe it would help to bring clarity to a few of the things that were written. Although as I mentioned, everyone views life and it's experiences differently.  I enjoy your messages, and usually read them every day.

Smiling Roxie 6/4/10
Our dog Roxie sure enjoys making trips with us
and seems to be smiling in this photo!

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.) 

"God Will Make A Way"
 Video  Don Moen

"Blessed Be Your Name"  Video  This song, which many of us have sung is based at least in part on Job's experience.

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  This is not the version I was looking for but is a powerful expression of faith.

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  Another version I have never heard before with beautiful acapella singing!  This is followed by the version I am familiar with.

"It Will Be Worth It All"  Video  An instrumental version of the song I was initially searching for.  And finally I found a vocal version!  Video

"It's Gonna Be Worth It"  Video  

"Trust His Heart"  Video  

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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